Monday, 4 May 2009

Swine Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

I haven't been writing much in the way of Japanese news lately, but that's only because I haven't been reading any. But I've started again out of an illness-induced lack of things to do.

I guess the most important news over the past week has been swine flu, right? So far I've managed to avoid caring about it, as I have with everything the Central British Media Brain has churned out as a scandal or triumph in the past five years. But then I got ill, and suddenly it became very interesting indeed. Obviously I don't have swine-flu, just the unfashionable and unglamorous regular flu, but it seems like whenever anyone sneezes these days everyone dives for cover "just in case". The Japanese have a great tradition of wearing a face-mask if they're ill (so they don't spread it to others) or if there's a bug going round, a purely speculative and useless precaution that's more a gesture of social-consciousness or panic than a viable preventative measure. Of course, there's always a bug going round, that's just how the world works. Somewhere, someone you know is ill, and that'll never change. Unfortunately, this time it's me.

But anyway. I'm rambling now. That'll probably be the flu. Japan is currently on "high-alert" for this swine-flu thing, and have created 684 emergency clinics to deal with it. 684 clinics, all with absolutely nothing to do, because there hasn't actually been an outbreak of swine-flu in Japan yet. 684 clinics, all with nothing to do but work themselves into a frothing panic.

They've also started running heat-scans over arrivals at Japan's airports to see if anyone has a fever. And absurdly, people are worried that they're not prepared enough. The world really has gone stone-cold crazy.

This is why I hardly read the news any more. I'll be back tomorrow with some jokes. If I'm still alive.

"Death! Death and Pestilence upon ye!"


JoJo said...

I can't believe they've set up 684 clinics. The classic bureaucratic thing to do would be to start infecting people with swine flu now, to justify the expenditure.